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The Hattiesburg Zoo

Animal Keeper 1

SHIFT: Generally 40 hours per week on a schedule requiring a mix of weekdays, weekends, evenings and holidays as required.

Reports to: Animal Curator

Summary: Under the direction of the Animal Curator, performs scientific work in the care of zoo animals and the maintenance of zoo exhibits and facilities.  Participates in the training, enrichment, dietary, record keeping and health needs of the animal collection.  Participates in the aesthetics and maintenance of the various exhibits and participates with guest interactions.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Observes and evaluates animal condition, behavior, and responses on a daily basis and reports any unusual situations to the supervisor.

  • Maintains records on animal health and behavior, exhibits, diets, vet care, enrichment/training, etc.

  • Cleans (disinfects as scheduled) and checks integrity of animal exhibits and structures daily to ensure safety and welfare of animals, guests, and staff in accordance with established guidelines.

  • Maintains exhibit materials and landscaping, such as caring for plants in and around exhibits, cleaning and installing perches, nest boxes, bedding materials, feed containers, and decorative materials and understands how these will be used by animals and their safety. 

  • Operates heavy machinery as needed.

  • Performs minor repairs and preventative maintenance to exhibits, reports maintenance concerns they cannot be easily addressed to the Curator, makes recommendations to improve the safety, aesthetics, and functionality of facilities; assists in the completion of approved changes.

  • Prepares prescribed diets and follows feeding instructions noting consumption and conformance of foods; make diet change recommendations as needed; thoroughly cleans feed trough, bowls, and other containers; unloads and replenishes hay; unloads food shipments.

  • Assists in the capture and restraint of animals, which may or may not be sedated; assists in administering prescribed medications and dietary supplements noting consumption and treating injured/sick animals.

  • Daily involvement in improving the quality of life of the animals by developing and implementing behavior modification and enrichment programs to elicit species-typical behaviors.

  • Participates in the animal training program for the purpose of improving animal welfare and/or public demonstrations.

  • Assist in the training and evaluation of volunteers and interns.

  • Assists in the presentation of educational programs and participates in daily guest interactions. 

  • Take on an extra responsibility of the job; Aesthetics, Medical, Nutrition, Training, Enrichment or Registrar) learns and performs the job as specified.

  • Assists with other tasks as assigned

Qualification Requirements

Education and Work Experience:

Bachelor’s degree in a biological science (i.e. biology, zoology, ecology) and 1 year exotic animal experience or 3 years exotic animal experience; or an equivalent combination of training and experience

Essential Job Qualifications 

  • Must retain a valid Driver’s License and meet the eligibility requirements to drive while conducting company business.

  • Current TB test

  • Work outdoors in all types of weather and lift heavy objects (up to 50 pounds)

Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong work ethic, self-motivated, committed to the vision of the Hattiesburg Zoo.

  • Ability to comprehend and follow oral and written instructions.

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with other employees and the general public.

  • Friendly with public and courteous to visitors, able to provide keeper chats and public encounters in a friendly manner.

  • Knowledge of behavioral management and operant conditioning and how they apply in a zoo setting.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit:


The Hattiesburg Zoo
Hattiesburg, MS

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